2010-07-04 - Potomac Heritage Trail

11+ miles @ ~16 min/mi


Happy Independence Day! Mountains hug the horizon as I head west on the Dulles Toll Rd toward Mary Ewell's home. A pair of big deer scamper across Waxpool Rd. We fill bottles with water and I follow Mary to the Potomac Lakes Sportsplex where we leave her car and proceed in mine to cache a jug of water near the intersection of Island Av and Potomac River Rd. Then back we go, to the start of today's run, the Kephart Bridge Landing kayak launch site on Goose Creek at 43942 Riverpointe Dr. It's where we turned back during our 2010-06-16 - Goose Creek adventure a fortnight ago.

Our trip begins with a walk, which after less than a mile turns into a trot. Mary stumbles at one point when crossing a log but after a scary near-cartwheel recovers, sunglasses tumbling to the ground. We take turns leading through the spiderwebs across the trail. At several points near Landsdowne Golf Course the trail is overgrown with weeds or eroded to nothingness, and we have to follow side paths farther inland. Mary attempts to shinny across a log over a deep gully, but wisely turns back before falling. We bushwhack through stinging nettles that turn our legs red for several minutes. Ouch! Trail talk as always is a delightful mix of physics (superabsorbent hydrogels, Martian atmospheres, etc.) and the private/personal.

We initially estimate the distance along the trail to be ~7 miles. Little do we know that approaching Broad Run the PHT vanishes—aha, so that's what a dashed line means on the map!—leaving us to trek along roads back to our start. In the sun we both get overheated and our pace slows. But Mary is as always cheerful (between apologies and good-natured complaints); the three hour journey goes well. Afterwards I follow her car to get barbecue from the general store formerly known as Partlow's on the W&OD Trail in old-town Ashburn—always a hit with the carnivores in the family. The next day my head is badly sunburned.

^z - 2010-07-16